The Nokia 5800 - is it really as good as people keep saying?

Published: 16th January 2009
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Ever since the release of the iPhone, manufacturers all round the world have been scrambling to bring touchscreen mobile phone to the market. Some have been good, and some haven't. But now it's the turn of the first mainstream touchscreen phone from the biggest name in the business: the Nokia 5800. But is it as good as we all expect it to be?

Background - the Nokia touchscreen mobile phones we'd rather forget...

A lot of people seem to be under the incorrect assumption that the Nokia 5800 is the first touchscreen mobile phone Nokia have ever made. It isn't. Actually, there have been several touchy-feely phones to wear the Nokia name. Starting with the 7700, the world has seen a few Nokia mobile phones that work by you prodding and poking the screen. They had a relatively big (for the time) touchscreen in common, but unfortunately, they shared something else: they were unbearably rubbish. Only one of those devices, the 6708, displayed a modicum of potential, but that was made solely to be sold in China, and so, it wasn't meant for us in these sceptred isles. Unfortunately, that meant that the phones we got were far poorer than their Asian cousin.

However, these unpleasant recollections have all been exorcised due to the launch of a new Nokia mobile phone, which has a touchscreen, and is thankfully much, much nicer...

Nokia 5800 - taking music phones in a new direction

When news of the Nokia 5800 first came to the world's attention, it was under a different name: the 'Tube'. It was also being hailed as a direct competitor to the iPhone, combining a wonderful touchscreen interface with the trademark power we've come to expect from Nokia phones. The Nokia 5800 certainly does come with a touchscreen, and whilst it isn't the glass, multitouch interface you get on the iPhone, it's high resolution with a great colour palette, and is very nice to use. Sure, you don't get multitouch access, so that you can only use one finger at once on the Nokia 5800's screen, but I would say that was a more sensible business decision, as it adds the option of selling it more easily in places like China, where the ability to write in Chinese characters on the screen of the Nokia 5800 will be a very large selling point.

It's clear from the XpressMusic branding, though, that the Nokia 5800 is built very specifically built to be a music phone, a device that splits its life between being a fantastic mobile phone, and a fantastic media player. In terms of sound quality, the Nokia 5800 is exceptional, providing all the punch and dynamic range of dedicated mp3 players, and the touchscreen interface makes accessing your music a fun thing to do in itself. There is a certain satisfaction to be had from swiping through the interface that extends throughout the Nokia 5800, even beyond the music player, into video, phone functions, the internet and even email.

Conclusion - is the Nokia 5800 as good as everyone hoped?

The question that a lot of people are dying to know the answer to is: is the Nokia 5800 actually any good? Well, there are flaws with it, a few issues that do need addressing. First is the new Symbian Touch interface; it's clearly very powerful, but it can be a little slow at times, and does have a tendency to be, sometimes, a little fiddly. It's not a big problem, though, and it's a whole quantum leap over and above any previous touch-based Nokia phones, so in that regard, it's a winner. Also disappointing is the camera, which comes in at 3 megapixels, below the top-end 5 megapixel level a lot of people were expecting. It's not bad,. as such, it's just that with the Nokia 5800 being the first phone of its kind, it would've been nice to see a better camera. Of course, one must consider that the Nokia 5800 was only ever meant to be a mid-range mobile phone, so the camera is forgivable, but it is disappointing that it doesn't contain a bigger camera. Still, 3 megapixels is comparable with many mobile phones on the market, and it's, once again, not a huge problem. Thankfully, everything else about the Nokia 5800 more than makes up for it, so in conclusion, I have to say that yes, it is a very nice mobile phone, and well worth taking the plunge to buy.

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